The Poetry Question

Discovering the Relevance of Words


When I showed Hieu Nguyen’s “Buffet Etiquette” to my high school juniors, one of my students stood up, cheered loudly, and exclaimed, “He got that so right!”. Given that the student is one of my quietest, it only emphasized the power in Nguyen’s words. The connection he’s able to build with his readers and listeners is impressive, and it has everything to do with the honesty in everything he says.

In This Way to the Sugar (Write Bloody Publishing), Nguyen channels his inner Sylvia Plath, with his ability to mix beautiful imagery, heavy metaphors, and blunt honesty. His use of line breaks to capture the perfect pause is impressive. Given the uncomfortable nature of some of his pieces, his style – much like that of Plath – seems to let you know that while he’s been through the wringer, he’s okay, and it’s okay if you’ve been there too.

Hieu Nguyen tackles issues of molestation, the struggles of coming out, death, family issues, and intense sexual experiences, and does so while writing one of the strongest collections that Write Bloody Publishing has to offer. It’s accessible, it’s harrowing, it’s beautifully crafted, well-paced, and above everything else, it just feels honest and real.

Grab your copy of This Way to the Sugar at Write Bloody Publishing!


About Christopher Margolin

Chris Margolin spent more than a decade in Education as a high school English teacher, and is now an Instructional Coach for the Longview School District. He is also the founder of The Poetry Question, an online journal which focuses on reviews of small press poetry publications, and runs a regular series called "The Power of Poetry," where notable poets share their personal stories of how poetry has affected their lives. Margolin resides in Vancouver, Washington with his wife, and daughter.

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